Saturday morning I dropped the kid off at his Improv class and I drove to Turkey Mountain and hobbled around a bit. I say hobbled because for about a month now running has been very painful and I can’t hardly go up or down stairs. That is frustrating because I generally take stairs when I can and always walk up and down escalators. Now, walking up is painful but doable, walking down is out of the question. Things are getting better but not quick enough to suit me. I know patience is required so I am walking a lot and doing the elliptical machine thing. On Wednesday nights I run very short distances in between long walking interludes. So anyway back to Turkey Mountain. I have found almost all the non-micro sized geocaches there so I went for a couple I hadn’t found yet. The first one was close to a homeless camp that now looks abandoned. (It sure is a mess!!!!) This cache was easy to find. See up in the tree?
I read the description and guess what, climbing apparatus is required. While I am not doing it at all climbing gear or not. Unfortunately I can’t log it unless I sign the log inside. No partial credit allowed. Oh well. I was glad to find it. The next time we have a clean up on Turkey Mountain we’ll need to clean up the dude’s camp. Plus there is another one, that may be occupied, about a hundred yards north. It needs to go as well.
The next cache I found, or didn’t find, was also up in a tree. And this one, maybe, just maybe? But no, it is on a steep slope and remote and if I slipped or fell I would be in a world of hurt especially by myself. I could get this one with a ladder. I have a light portable ladder that I have packed into woods to retrieve caches safely and this might be one of them. Later.
I wandered around some more and found this. It is a bicycle jump across a ravine. I love the “Caution Gap” signs. They are probably needed because as you can see if you are on this side and tearing down the hill on your bicycle you are not going to see that it is not a bridge it is a jump. How does one do this for the first time? I guess you start out by not being as chicken as I am. You can also see that the structure has more problems than the gap. The first few boards are missing. See that bypass off to the right with the small bridge. That is more my speed.
I have yet to take my bicycle to Turkey Mountain. I have seen some bicyclists do incredible things. Like bend their wheels out of round or their frames and they have to carry their bikes two miles to the parking lot. I have also seen other guys go up and down hillsides that I thought were pretty much vertical. One day I saw a couple of mountain unicyclers tearing down the hill on the knobby tired unicycles. They are long poles they were using like skiers use ski poles but still, it was amazing.
Anyway, I had a great walk out in the woods on a beautiful chilly breezy, sunny January day. So, mission accomplished.
Saturday morning started out cool with a chance of rain. I thought about putting up the outside Christmas lights on house but I don’t like doing that in the rain. I don’t mind running in a light rain though. I have the gear for it. So after dropping the kid off at his Improv Comedy class I headed to Turkey Mountain. There was hardly anyone there.
It was kind of a dreary gray day, just the way I like them, and so off I went with a vague desire to do about five miles plus or minus and take some new trails. The big well used trails are fine but I love the fainter seldom used ones also. As you can see there were lots of dry leaves on the ground. The squirrels were having a field day running around in them making a racket.
I take it as a point of honor to never (well almost never) turning back on a trail because it disappears or requires climbing up or down a cliff. This trail ended up requiring it. It is at the far north end of Turkey Mountain and I had to climb down a steep hill and then climb back up out on the other side of the draw. Oh well. Slows me down but I’m not in it for the speed.
I saw only one bicyclist and very few other people the whole time I was out there.
I guess that somebody lost their camo hat and some other person picked it up and stuck it on a tree. I always wonder who besides a hunter needs camo gear. When I’m out in the woods, I want to be seen.
Being out in the woods in nature is a great escape. Maybe I’ll do the lights on Sunday. The Cowboys aren’t playing you know.
This is a cell phone photo from the lower yellow trail on Turkey Mountain looking roughly northeast across the Arkansas River across south Tulsa. I’ve learned over the years that sometimes the best view at sunset is not towards the sun. I love how the river is reflecting some of the pink in the sky.
Summer is rapidly coming to a close. The temperatures are a bit lower, the humidity is much less, and the mornings are very nice. Autumn is my favorite season in Tulsa.
We were trying to figure out what to do Sunday when Logan announced that he would like to go hiking on Turkey Mountain. It only took a few microseconds for the words to hit my ear and my response didn’t even go to my brain “Lets go!” I said.
It was a change for Logan. He has a couple of other big changes coming up. For one he is starting college today at a local community college. He is starting part time. So we are not photographing decorated dorm rooms and new room mates and all that. We are starting kind of slow to see how it goes and get him used to it and he’ll live at home.
Not everybody of course goes “off” to college. I graduated from high school in Albuquerque and went to the University of New Mexico and stayed at home. Suited me!! I went off to the Permian Basin of west Texas to work as a roustabout in the oilfields during the summer. I loved the work but I loved getting home also. I think Logan is a home body also. Eventually he want to get a job and get a place of his own. Hopefully not too far away.
We found someone camping illegally on the Mountain
The other change for Logan is that he is starting a work skills class at Goodwill Inc sponsored by the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitative Services (“DRS”). Its going to be several hours a day and they are going to learn about all the various things a person has to know in order to have a job. We have been very impressed with both Goodwill and DRS. They are very nice people and we think this will be great for Logan. It will be in a small group type environment and they will all learn together.
Anyways say a small prayer if you would for our son as he starts this new things in his life. He is very nervous about it.
“…Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go…”
Tulsa’s Turkey Mountain is not that big, two miles north to south and a mile, maybe, east to west. You can generally hear traffic in most areas but there are lots of trails and if the weather is a little hot, or a little cold, or a little wet or whatever the number of people on the trails plunges, especially a quarter mile down the trail (I am not exagerating..) And if one gets to the little visited areas like the northwest segment it is easy not to see anybody.
I was on such a blissful trek last Wednesday when I happened on this vista that made it look like the mountain went on forever. I love the feeling of feeling lost and depth in the photo. Even though I know I had been up and down that trail many times before.
I love Turkey Mountain, I have been there dozens of times and still find something new every time I am there. I can get up there and just cruise along and don’t worry about a thing. Except snakes, lots of people have encountered lots of snakes, especially copperheads, and I worry about them a little but I don’t let them stop me.
So what about you? Where is your favorite place to get away from it all.
No, this doesn’t mean that the Feds are coming in to take over the trails, the designation recognizes existing trails built and maintained by others. The National Park Service will provide special trail markers and add it to their web site. The main thing is that the designation provides additional credibility to those who are trying to get grants for Turkey Mountain.
A cloudy afternoon, Lake Logan at the West Side YMCA on Turkey Mountain in Tulsa, Oklahoma
I was doing my Wednesday night run on Turkey Mountain last Wednesday night. I call it run even though I stop a lot to take photographs. I took 79 of them Wednesday. I had my trusty weatherproof, everything proof, Nikon AW110 point and shoot with me set on “Auto” mode and I noticed after taking one particular pic that a menu option popped up offering instant edits. So I decided to see where that took me and it gave me a choice of six filters. So I experimented with it and this is an example of the “Toy Camera” filter. I kind of like it as a variation. Luckily the camera saves the original image along with the filtered image so I can save myself if need be.
I’m looking forward to the day when cameras have just as good a filters as our phones and ipods do along with wifi connectability so one can buy and upgrade filters, as well as upload our photos directly to our various social media and photo storage sites. I have two cameras that have wifi compatibility but only with cell phones and setting up and maintaing the connection is time consuming and chews up battery life at an alarming rate and doesn’t work that great.
So, does your camera have some hidden features that you found?
This is the sky on Tulsa’s Turkey Mountain late one afternoon last week. We have had so many beautiful blue skies so much lately it was nice to see some clouds. Clouds mean rain and rain is generally good. I saw my first snake of the season literally about 10 seconds after I took this photo. He was a little tiny guy so I wasn’t too worried about him. After the weather warmed up a few weeks ago some of my trail running friends posted photos of the first copperheads of the season. I’ve seen lots of snakes on the mountain but never a copperhead. I intend to keep it that way.
This shot is from a few weeks ago during a family hike on Tulsa’s Turkey Mountain. I thought this pair of ragged but tough trees looked a like fighting sisters really going after it. Or maybe they are dancing? But they look too angry to be dancing. What do you think? And yep, there is a sky behind them.